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2018 HFTFS Prize for Teaching Excellence Finalist

Ron Martinez

Heavy Equipment Diesel Technology

Dennis Technical Education Center, ID

“I believe that trust, comfort and safety are the best ways to teach! I model these values with my students and by doing so my students are able to build a trusting relationship with other students, myself and become very successful in the classroom and lab areas. We work together in positive learning and safe environment. The students and I work hard and play hard. We work on 21st Century Skills and the industry identified skills. Most importantly, I try to emulate the need to be good citizens and members of the community.”

Ron Martinez has been teaching for 20 years, and for 12 of these he has taught heavy equipment diesel technology at Dennis Technical Education Center in Boise, Idaho, where 90% of his students go on to postsecondary education, industry, and/or the armed forces.

Martinez grew up in the small town of Homedale, Idaho, where his family worked as migrant workers in the surrounding fields and communities. He said his parents strongly instilled him the values of hard work and integrity. Upon graduating high school, Martinez went onto study at Boise State University, where he earned a Basic HD Diesel Certificate. He then earned his Master Technician status in HD Diesel/Automotive from Automotive Service Excellence/National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation.

Martinez utilizes a wide variety of modern teaching methods and resources to encourage his students and earn a 90% completion rate. In addition to their regular lab work, students are required to research the mission statements and goals of future industry employers and the opportunities they offer. Extensive coursework in developing cover letters and resumes are required of all students. SkillsUSA representatives and guest speakers from numerous companies are invited to speak candidly with students and bring their worlds into the classroom. Students are required to develop their own goals for transition from Martinez’s program to their post-graduation steps to work, college or the military.

With more than 2,700 hours of industry certificate training, Martinez is a master teacher in Idaho, and writes curriculum for the industry and the State of Idaho Professional Technical Education Department. He maintains a diverse Advisory Board filled with over 20 industry, academic, and community partners.

Martinez’ success in developing students who are sought after in the HD Diesel industry has been widely recognized across the state — from the Governor of Idaho’s office to the Boise State University Football Program. He gets great joy hearing from alumni and parents on their latest successes and life developments, as well from companies seeking advice on their next hires. His students have graduated with more than $120,000 in tools and scholarships, and Martinez has led his students to top honors in the state’s SkillsUSA auto skills competition.

“The HD Diesel field and community has so much to offer. I try to share the wisdom of industry, past students, (and) post-secondary programs with my current students. We talk about soft skills, goals, high school grades, cover letters, resumes, first impressions, driving record, and personal appearance. Students learn that they communicate who they are by their actions and behaviors and how well they communicate with others. Each student represents this HD Diesel program even when they graduate. They are still a valued part of something that they helped create.”